Monday, May 9, 2016

An Amazing Paper on Animal Over Population; Thanks, Andy!!


                                                               Pet Overpopulation
                                                              Andrew Parker
                                                              Kaplan University

                                                         Pet Overpopulation 
            We arrived back at my friend’s house at about 2 am on a Monday morning, our normal 6-hour journey had taken almost 8-hours because of the snowy weather.  Often we would visit friends in Kansas City in late January because everyone was so busy over the holidays it was easier for our friends to celebrate a late holiday with us. He unpacked and we said goodbye, with a few inches of snow on the ground, I preferred to drive the gravel roads home the highways tended to be more slippery.  It was not to cold but it was windy and I was glad I was familiar with the road, because the wind whipped the snow making it harder to see so I just stayed in the middle and watched for the light poles and road markers to keep centered.  They were only 3 stop signs on the side roads back to my place, it normally took 20 minutes, tonight it was going to take longer, I was in no hurry and had not come this far to have problems.  As I neared the second stop sign, I saw the familiar bus stop on the corner, as I slowly drove past the bus stop I saw what looked like a big box with something sticking out of the end.  I slowly drove past and up the hill and watched the object in my rear view mirror, curiosity had got the best of me and when I came to another road I pulled a U turn to go back and check it out. 
         I parked near the bus stop and walked over to the box, I thought I heard something and told myself it was probably just sounds from the wind.  It appeared to be a metal or plastic crate sticking out of the back of the box, it was jammed so I yanked hard on the crate while trying to hold the box, it came loose and needless to say I was lucky not to end up at the bottom of a ditch.  It was wrapped in what looked like a plastic sheet with a blanket or rug under the plastic, I removed the ropes that held it in place and heard what I thought were little barks.  In the sparse light of the streetlamp I saw at least 4 little faces and more commotion within, I grabbed the handles and pulled it over to my car.  Raised my trunk and grabbed a flashlight, 6 puppies in total, kind of looked like little shepherds, but I was not sure. They were shivering a bit but looked no worse for wear, there was some dog food and two empty bowls in the bottom of the crate so I grabbed the blanket and plastic and put it over my backseat and grabbed 2 or 3 pups at a time and put them in the car.  Driving back was pretty strange realizing I had 6 puppies with me, the only thing I could think was someone abandoned them there knowing that kids would be coming to the bus stop that morning for school and would find the pups.  As a Dog owner and animal lover this left a lasting impression on me, my dog at home was in for quite a surprise.  I did keep one male and my friend I traveled with took a puppy and he was able to get rid of one other to friends.  I was so touched I would have kept them all if it was possible.
             Based on my experience I strongly believe:   A free spay/neuter program should be provided to all pet owners, the goal is to decrease the amount of unwanted births and raise the animal’s quality of life and reduce costs for all in the community.
          The focus will be in three main areas, controlling and regulating the population, increasing quality of life for the animal, and reducing costs for all.  #1 Controlling and regulating the massive numbers of unwanted and abandoned animals and reducing the amount of unplanned births.  The sheer amount of animals far exceeds the ability to properly care for them and provide them with a good quality of life.  The real problem is supply and demand, it is a numbers game that the animals are sorely losing, The American Humane Association, previously the American Humane Society states: “Animal shelters both public and private, are faced with an incredible burden: What to do with the overpopulation of dogs and cats that they cannot find homes for.” (AHA, 2013).  Approximately 3 million animals a year are destroyed because of the lack of proper homes and the space and resources to properly house and care for the animals.  ASPCA figures show animal homelessness is a serious issue, “Each year almost 7.6 million animals enter animal shelters nationwide and nearly 3 million don’t make it out”.  (ASPCA, 2016).  They also state: “Only 10% of animals who enter shelters are spayed or neutered.” (ASPACA, 2016.)  This seems like an awfully low number based on the sheer amounts of animals that are abandoned or stuck in the shelter system as a last resort for a good life.
       #2 Increasing life quality for animals should be the priority of any health related program, the large amount of suffering that the animals experience could be greatly reduced.  There are also many health benefits pets of both sexes can acquire through proper sterilization and also more control for pet owners and less stray pets causing a nuisance in public. Both females and males benefit from being sterilizes, less hormones effect both sexes and make them easier to control, can also reduce marking and spraying and can lessen aggressiveness.  It can provide your pets, cats or dogs, a healthier, longer life with reductions in some cancer and other infections. Three main reasons to Spay/Neuter: Reducing the huge overpopulation of dogs and cats, millions of unwanted animals, there just is not enough homes for these animals, Spay/Neuter can increase the quality and length of your pet’s life, Sterilizing your pets will make them easier to control and reduce the problems caused by running free.  The goal is to reduce the suffering of dogs and cats by reducing the sheer number of unwanted animals.  Many dogs and cats are destroyed yearly because of the lack of good owners and proper homes for them, it is strictly a numbers game and the animals are sadly losing. 
        #3 Reducing costs for the pet owners and the community, also saving time and resources for families, local pet health centers and city or county shelters and services.  I believe by reducing the massive number of animals that it would save money for owners by reducing problems related to health and reproduction cycles and the better control the hormones at work on both sides.  The animal would be less likely to wander and be injured or impounded or impregnated, better control means less vet bills, less fines and fewer hours spent searching and desperate to find your pet.  It would reduce the need for more shelters and city and county services and the great amount of labor hours spent feeding, housing and caring for all the animals.  And all the hours spent by animal control and public and private volunteer agencies that provide some options for these desperate pets.  The ASPCA states, “A key to getting funding for spay/neuter programs from sources such as city councils, county general funds, health departments, and other government entities is meeting these agencies' needs and speaking their "language." “By this we mean addressing issues that concern these public organizations, such as: Cost savings to departments and taxpayers, Reducing animal-related complaint calls to police and animal control, increasing Public safety and health” (ASPCA, n.d.). 
            Certainly all pet owners have rights and no one wants to force more laws and taxes on a public that is already overregulated.  It is an ethical choice that we make as humans to help and assist these companion animals who cannot help themselves.  Reducing the vast number of animals would reduce cruelty from abandonment, puppy and animal mills and animal hoarding.  The author states, "Pet overpopulation is largely due to the infrequency of spaying and neutering done by pet owners. When a cat or dog is not spayed or neutered, the number of offspring it can produce is astonishing. According to ASPCA statistics, a fertile dog produces a litter of 4 to 6 puppies on average, while a fertile cat produces 1 to 2 litters of 4 to 6 kittens per year.  (Torbett, 2014).  We certainly cannot stop all unwanted dogs and cats from being born or eliminate all cruelty to our companion animals, but we need to be proactive.  To persuade people to realize by simply having our animals sterilized we can all do our part, small as it may be, to help reduce the vast numbers of animals and increase both the quality of life for the animals and the people of the community.

ASPCA (2016)
         statistics (Retrieved April 21, 2016)
ASPCA. (n.d.). Cost Savings from Publicly Funded Spay/Neuter Programs. Retrieved April 22,
      2016, from
      funding- starting-program/cost-savings-publicly-funded
Spaying / Neutering. (2013). Retrieved April 22, 2016, from
Torbett, E. (2014).   "Spaying, neutering necessary for pets", ProQuest Education Journal.
          Kaplan Library, Publication: The Daily Athenaeum, West Virginia University,     
         University Wire [Carlsbad] Retrieved April 21, 2016

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